Previously, incorporating a company involved an application to pre-approve the company name. A representative or agent of the proposed company would file an application for pre-approval of its name with its region's company registration authority.
Once the pre-approval was granted the name would be added to the Chinese corporate name bank and the company would be given a notice of pre-approval, valid for six months. This notice would then be re-submitted to the company registration authority when applying to incorporate the company.
The State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has now announced that company registration authorities should begin to make their company name banks accessible online, with a view to removing the pre-approval process altogether.
Seven categories should be accessible online, SAIC said: the names of existing companies; the original names of companies who have been renamed in the past year; the names of companies whose registration has been revoked but have not yet been de-registered; the names of those who have been deregistered for less than three years of their registration or business licence was revoked; names that have been approved and are still in the 'preservation period' waiting for the company to register; and others.
Registration authorities should provide online application forms and information on how to check names and submit documents. Authorities will also be able to publish information on words that are prohibited and restricted in terms of company names.
Each region has until 1 December to provide the online service, and has been asked to submit a work programme by the end of October to SAIC on its plans to achieve this.